Monday, May 4, 2009

The answer is The Cross

The Bishop came to visit our little church for his annual visit, and to talk with us about our search for a new parish priest. He gave us a bit of direction and we'll work on finding some answers.

In the meantime, he gave a very interesting sermon, starting with the time of the Second Great Awakening in the 1830s, and how that had a very significant impact on how religion in the United States in particular was shaped. It was at that time that the experiential, emotional aspects of connecting to God were espoused and lauded, without so much emphasis being put on the actions that make us Christians. Rather than love being a feeling you can wrap around yourself, as a Christian, it should also be an action that assists people to improve themselves and go on to express their love in actions as well.

Today, we experience the rise and fall in church attendance -- not just as Episcopalians, but most all Christian churches are experiencing -- as people "shop" around for the best "show." How's the choir? Is the priest any good? Is the music modern or classical? How does the congregation dress? What, pray tell, does any of that have to do with being a good Christian?

So, the Bishop pointed out some of the questions that many non-Christians, or seeking Christians have:

How much does God care about our day to day lives?
Does He care about our deeds, that we sin or do good, that we fear hell and strive for heaven?
Is God truly a loving God?
Does He understand the sacrifices we make in our efforts to be good Christians?

The answer is the Cross.

In this time of focusing on the resurrection and rebirth of Christ, we also need to know, without doubt that God is there, caring for us, daily, because He truly understands what we're striving for. He's there to help, to listen, to inspire, and to hold us accountable for the choices we make. So let one of your questions, as you shop around for a good "show", be something along the lines of, what can *I* do to show God I understand all this?

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